Romney Again Defends the Individual Mandate as a Conservative Idea
Mitt Romney remains a stalwart defender of his health care law and the individual mandate as a "conservative principle."
Here are the comments:
"I’m happy to stand by the things that I believe. I’m not going to change my positions by virtue of being in a presidential campaign. What we did was right for the people of Massachusetts, the plan is still favored there by three to one, and it is fundamentally a conservative principle to insist that people take personal responsibility as opposed to turning to government for giving out free care."
We've debated this back and forth before, here and across the web. But it now seems well-evident that Romney isn't just speaking historically - he still believes in mandates, it's just a matter of what level the mandate happens at (national v. state). While as a matter of federalism this is valid, Erick Erickson makes a key point about this:
By the way, for those who want to obfuscate on the federalism issue, yes, this is a federalist issue. It is perfectly legitimate for Massachusetts under its constitution to do this when it is not permissible for the federal government to do it under Article I, Section 8. But just because something is constitutional or not does not make it conservative. Constitutional and conservative are not exactly the same things.
And, of course, it blunts any real ability for Romney to criticize the most unpopular element of an Obama plan that did essentially the same thing.